Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > South Dakota’s US Senate race is going to be one to remember

South Dakota’s US Senate race is going to be one to remember

April 7, 2014

checkeredflagI’ve been a bit over-busy at the office so I’ve fallen behind on blogging about the South Dakota US Senate Race. Here is a recap of where the race currently is and my brief thoughts about each of the candidates in the race at this moment (my thoughts are likely to change over the next few months). No matter what happens I think this will end up being a memorable Senate Race.

Republican Primary Candidates:

All five Republicans seeking the Republican nomination turned in the required signatures to make the primary ballot. I have listed them in order of their appearance on the ballot.

Stace Nelson – I have been pretty transparent in my support of Stace as the next US Senator from South Dakota. I believe he is the choice for anyone looking to get rid of status-quo type politicians in DC. An argument I hear against Stace quite often is that he takes a hard stance on certain small government issues and will fight against leadership when he believes they are going outside of the Republican stances on small government. To me that is one of the reasons to actually send him to DC. South Dakota does not need to send another Senator to DC that will simply do what the elite politicians there want him to do.

Mike Rounds – And speaking of status-quo politicians. Between entering this race directly after the 2012 election, his boast to raise $9 million in this race, and incumbent Senator Tim Johnson deciding not run again it gave Rounds the unique opportunity to enter this race almost as an incumbent. A good majority of the politicos have already deemed him the next US Senator from South Dakota. I hope that does not happen. A lot of his campaign seems to revolve around the fact people ‘like Mike’. Is that really a reason to vote for someone who will have so much power? His campaign so far has been a mirror of his time in office as Governor. He does not appear to truly engage the public, or even his own staff for that matter. The Aberdeen Beef Plant EB-5 scandal is a direct result of policies implemented during his tenure as governor. He has gone on record as saying that big government programs such as EB-5 have economic value for the State of South Dakota. I have a feeling if he would be elected in DC he would become just another Senator willing to do whatever leadership there decides is best for the country. Mike may be likable, but I would rather have a politician that will not become part of the status-quo DC political culture.

Annette Bosworth – This is a candidate I hoped would offer something as a Doctor having dealt with Obamacare. Unfortunately she has not only become a disappointment, she has become a liability to the whole process by likely committing fraud in the act of gathering her petitions. I won’t even bother to offer more words on her.

Jason Ravnsborg – I’ve met Ravnsborg a few times and must say I like him as a person. I’m still unsure about him as a US Senator though. He has a good history involving farming, military service, and practicing as an attorney. Yet when I talk with him I get this uneasy feeling that he simply isn’t ready for such a high-profile office such as the US Senate. Personally I would have rather seen Ravnsborg run in the US House primary against Rep Noem. For someone of his unknown history and abilities that would have been a better first step into Federal service. Or run for a statewide office. No matter what I just don’t feel he is ready for this office and don’t see him as a viable candidate at this time. I do however hope he does not become discouraged from running for office in the future. He does have potential.

Larry Rhoden – Rhoden is an entry that makes me think: “why is he in this race”. There is very little to differentiate Rhoden from Rounds. In fact their legislative history in Pierre are remarkably similar. A large problem with Rhoden is his lack of ability to inspire when speaking. He really hasn’t learned how to get a crowd to connect with him. Until he learns that skill I believe an office such as US Senate will be out of his reach. From my viewpoint the only votes he will likely get in this race are from moderately conservative Republicans who don’t like Mike, but aren’t willing to go as conservative as Nelson.

Democrat Candidate:

Unfortunately there is only one Democrat candidate. I really hoped there would be a Democrat primary so the left-leaning portions of the state could decide whether they wanted a more liberal or more moderate candidate. With only one candidate they lose the ability to choose.

Rick Weiland – Weiland came out of the gate speaking against free speech and Citizens United. I agree with him that money from certain rich sources are creating problems with the current political environment, especially in DC. But this is not a new problem, it has existed since politicians have existed. I really wish Weiland could find a way to fight against special interests money without throwing the First Amendment under the bus. One thing I do like about him is his acknowledgement that Obamacare was not the way to go. He supports Medicare for all, basically as a single-payer system. I personally disagree with him. But I do think that would have been better than Obamacare. But unless Independent candidates are able to draw enough votes from the Republican primary winner I don’t see him having much of a chance in winning this election. I do hope he puts up a good fight and maybe even proves me wrong about him not having a chance. Even thought I don’t support him, I do support there always being a close race with actual competition between candidates.

Independent Candidates:

There is not just one, but two independent candidates for South Dakota to choose from this year. I think that is great! More choices at the ballot is always a good thing. Unfortunately there won’t be a Libertarian candidate (Evans pulled out last fall) or a Constitution Party candidate. It is up the independent candidates to try making strides this year. Since most new voters are registering as independent I think this may become the type of candidate to look to in the future. I don’t think either independent candidate has a chance of winning in 2014, but that doesn’t mean they won’t impact the election.

Larry Pressler – I know I just said I like independent candidates on the ballot because it offer choice. Yet this choice is what I stand against in a DC politician. Pressler has already served as  US Senator for 18 years, and another 4 years in the House of Representatives. That is 22 years as a DC politician. Since his time in office he has lived in DC, but ‘maintained’ a South Dakota residence. This is case where we the voters must decide to reject any politician that wishes to remain a permanent part of the DC political culture on the taxpayer dime.

Gordon Howie – This is a more interesting entry into the US Senate race as an Independent. Howie is a former Republican State legislator and hopeful for the Governor’s office. As a part of the Tea Party he has the potential to pick up some liberty-minded votes. I do however wish he would enter the race full-blown to win. Instead he has stated he will withdraw if Stace Nelson wins the Republican primary. I understand that contingency approach, but to me starting a race in that matter won’t give him the ability to actually gain momentum after the Republican primary. Another apprehension I have about Howie as a candidate is his social conservative viewpoints. His adherence to social conservatism will likely turn off many independent voters that have more modern viewpoints on social issues. But, even after mentioning those downsides, I still welcome Howie to the race and am glad to see him as a choice on the ballot this fall.

  1. Drew
    April 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Good insights it will be a very exciting primary and I hope that supporters of Gov. Rounds (or any candidate for that matter) will not lose focus, and continue to look at the big picture, electing Conservatives!

  1. April 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm
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